This was an easier day than the day before, and I only came off the track once. I decided to do some more track work.

The initial walk up the creek was straightforward and fast for a while. For once.

At the first tributary on the true right, the route heads into the forest to get around a short gorge. Nice walking, but I spent some time trimming the shrubbery all the way to get back to the river. That needed about an hour for each 100 m.

Slow going, and I found it was lunchtime. I estimated I had made less than an hour of real progress.

Then it was back into the river for a while until the clearing with the Viewing Rock and a waterfall at the start of another larger gorge.

I knew to climb straight up the steep grass bank, and through some foliage, so I left a pink ribbon trail until the old NZFS and blue-marked track became obvious.

I cut more regenerating silver and red beech saplings and branches that had obscured the route.

At one point, I kept walking uphill for a while before realising I should’ve dropped down a steep section. That was heading down to the swampy pasture at the end of which is the descent to the crossing of the south branch of Burn Creek.

A 4.5 kg gas bottle marks the start of the plunge, but looking over the edge, it seemed daunting.

Do people really go down that?

It was already 5 pm, and with a beautiful evening, I thought I might camp on an almost level-cleared site that had obviously been used before. It had a great backdrop, looking over to the Emily Peaks area to the north.

I went back down to examine the crossing and realised it did have shrubbery to cling to on the way down, but it might as well have been a ladder.

If I lowered my pack on my tent guylines, I’d probably survive.

That makes it sound easy.

Happy to stop earlier for a change.

All in all, it was a productive day.

Followed by a ten-hour sleep.

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